Orlando travel to San Antonio tonight as preseason continues, with the Magic looking to build a rhythm as they face the Spurs.
The tip time from the AT&T Center is shown on the NBA app and the Orlando Magic website as being 1am here in the U.K. (8pm Eastern for our friends in Florida). To watch the game live or on demand you will need an active NBA League Pass subscription (and hopefully the glitches in the app are resolved soon!).
Last Time Out
Orlando opened their preseason in Memphis by facing the Grizzlies, going down 97-109 on Monday night. A somewhat misfiring and disjointed Magic offence could not produce the points scoring needed. Cole Anthony led the Magic with 17 points. R.J. Hampton scored 14 points and Paolo Banchero contributed 8 points in his NBA preseason debut.
Memphis picked up where they left off last season. Rebounds, points in the paint, fast break points, forcing turnovers and making steals are areas in which they are amongst the NBA’s best. These categories were all areas that saw the game go in favour of Memphis.
Your Orlando Magic
Starting Unit In Memphis
Last Time Out Bench Unit
Gary Harris is out following arthroscopic surgery to his torn meniscus of the left knee.
Jonathan Isaac remains rehabbing his 2 year left knee injury absence. There are still reports suggesting he could be available for the season start.
Markelle Fultz is out with a toe fracture.
Last Season’s Statistics
Record: 22-60, Finished 15th in NBA Eastern Conference.
PTS/G – 104.2 (29th of 30) Opp PTS/G – 112.2 (20th of 30)
Pace – 10th of 30 Off Rtg – 30th of 30 Def Rtg – 17th of 30
Our Opponents – The San Antonio Spurs
Last Starting Unit
Tre Jones (PG), Devin Vassell (SG), Josh Richardson (SF), Keita Bates-Diop (PF), Jakob Poetl (C)
Doug McDermott, Zach Collins, Isaiah Roby, Romeo Langford, Blake Wesley, Joe Wieskamp, Jeremy Sochan, Alize Johnson, Malaki Branham, Tommy Kuhse (DNP), Dominick Barlow (DNP)
Injury And Inactive Report
Gorgui Dieng was inactive on a coach’s decision in Houston.
Keldon Johnson is day-to-day but could be available to play.
ESPN also show Joshua Primo as day-to-day, being said to not be involved in any contact during practice.
Last Season’s Statistics
Record: 34-48, Finished 10th in the NBA Western Conference
PTS/G: 113.2 (8th of 30) Opp PTS/G: 113.0 (23rd of 30)
Pace: 5th of 30 Off Rtg: 18th of 30 Def Rtg: 16th of 30
As Orlando travel to San Antonio facing the Spurs has one certainty, it will be a well drilled team you play. Coach Poppovich is a legend and knows his role inside out. He knows how to get the best out of his players and surrounds himself with assistants admirably capable of helping him deliver that. This is however a Spurs team in a rebuild and seeking their identity. Last season saw them play fast and attacking the paint hard. Ball movement was a key, seeing them with the second best record for assists. Losing Dejounte Murray to Atlanta is a big hole to fill.
San Antonio opened their preseason on the road in Houston, losing heavily to the Rockets by 96-134. Devin Vassell led the way for the Spurs with 13 points, closely followed by Isaiah Roby with 12. Jakob Poetl was arguably their best performer with 9 points, 10 rebounds and 2 assists. One surprise was to see the Spurs let fly from long distance, something they did not do prolifically last season.
Head-To-Head – The San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs swept the Magic last season, including in San Antonio on opening night with Orlando falling to a 97-123 loss. The Spurs have won the last 5 meetings, whilst Orlando have not won a road game since November 2018.
History sees San Antonio lead the all time record of regular season games played by 48-19.
The teams have never met in the playoffs.
Final Thoughts As Orlando Travel To San Antonio
In the last preview I wrote about keeping a touch of realism amongst all the excitement, that remains true.
So let’s start by address one individual performance, that of Paolo Banchero. He without argument did not have the best game but how some fans are overreacting to the debut is mind blowing. One game does not define a career and especially a debut playing a little out of position. He showed flashes and had a couple of highlight moments.
Exhibition games are not about results or performance. Preseason is for clearing the rust, whilst trying out formations and plays. It sees minutes limited as the training camp squad get experience and opportunity, improving fitness and readiness in a competitive environment. Magic Coach Jamahl Mosley stated before the Memphis game that every available player would see minutes. There can also be agreements between teams on playing certain tactics that each would like work against (such as facing a zonal defence). This affects all areas of the game. Turnovers can be increased, more points conceded. That occurred in Memphis, it is no cause for panic or overreaction.
This period is all about being in the best position possible to hit the ground competitively on October 19th.
Having faced the elite talent of Memphis to begin the preseason tonight offers Orlando an opportunity to compete against a team arguably just beginning their rebuild. This is a chance to play better, get the win and the confidence that comes with it.
Lets Go Magic!